We’re into our fourth day of creator thoughts, inspirations and projects. As always, thanks to everyone who took the time to participate. As you can see, the biggest story of last year was definitely #metoo and the revelations of sexual harassment in the comics industry. We all have a lot of work to do to make our industry – and the ones around us – a safe, inclusive place for everyone.
Also, on a lighter note, the quality of creator portrait photos has vastly improved since I started doing this 14 years ago. Whether that’s a function of comics folks being better known in general or just the Instagraming of everything, I’ll leave you to judge.
Brandon Graham, cartoonist/editor
2018 Projects: I’m finishing up my Multiple Warheads book along with a Royalboiler art book and then a new new series.
What was the biggest story of 2017? This has been a bizarre year in that the world outside of comics I think affected the tone of readers and creators in ways that was certainly new to me.
I was disheartened by seeing things like Aubrey Sitterson, catch flack and seemingly lose the backing of his publisher over people being upset at (some fairly mild things said) his twitter. DC continues to plunge the depths of Watchmen for no good reason. & only seemed to care about dealing with a sexual harasser when the outside world started to take notice -While Marvel made some attempts at doing socially progressive comics while at the same time their chairman is funnelling money to the right wing.
It got me to the point where I was actively trying to distance my everday from looking at mainstream comics, spending more time reading work from publisher like Koyama, NoBrow, Fantagraphics and Peow — ( I read a lot of Image too but they’re who I work with so I’m biased)
Creatively I got a lot out of Connor Willumsen’s Anti-gone (Koyama)
What will be the biggest story of 2018? I’ve seen some really exciting work on the horizon. Sloane Leong’s Prism Stalker (Image comics) Dilraj Mann’s new Nobrow book, more from creators like Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple, Grim Wilkins. & Emma Rios.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: I’m dipping my toes into doing more artwork with the porn company Woodrocket, I dunno if there’s any guilt in that for me, but I wouldn’t wanna talk to my mom about it.
Who or what inspires you? Connor Willumsen really got me thinking with his work. & on a more personal level I spent a lot of time hanging out with Farel Dalrymple this year & seeing his process and the work he’s doing in inspiring.
Glenn Hauman, editor ComicMix
2018 Projects: Pushing “Mine!”, our anthology benefiting Planned Parenthood (even though it came out at the very end of 2017, most of the work hyping it is yet to come.)
What was the biggest story of 2017? I feel the biggest stories are the ones that haven’t been covered yet. Why did Axel Alonso leave Marvel so suddenly? What’s going to happen to BOOM! now that minority stakeholder Fox is merging with Disney, who already has Marvel?
Of the stories we know about, it’s obviously Bendis leaving Marvel, an event as big as Kirby leaving Marvel.
(I’m partial to the Ninth Circuit court ruling that you can’t trademark an illustration style, but that’s me.)
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Sadly, the one most people will care about isn’t even technically a comics story: how the Marvel Cinematic Universe will integrate the Marvel properties controlled by Fox. Will the FF pop in the post-credits sequence of Avengers: Infinity War?
Second place: who’s the next person to get fired over sexual harassment accusations?
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: A ruling from the Register of Copyrights.
Who or what inspires you? Neil Gaiman. His story for “Mine!” took what was one of the most painful moments of his life, ripped out his heart and turned it into artâ€” and turned it into art to help people who are going through the same sort of pain, and to explain to people who don’t understand how painful that can be.
Neil Kleid, writer
2018 Projects: Several anthology stories, including “Babel” with my KINGS AND CANVAS partners, Jake Allen and Frank Reynoso, for the second volume of the Jewish Comix Anthology; mostly a creative/building year for me, working on a novel, a TV pilot and several pitches/projects yet to be announced.
What was the biggest story of 2017? Hands down the last-straw, breaking of the dam, simply not going to take it public airing and (in some cases) termination of known sexual predators in comics . In addition to that, the further discussion as regards diversity and women in comics and the empowerment/need for both on creative and editorial levels.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? The growing move by established creators away from comics and into alternative mediums that pay well. I believe the moves being made in Washington by the Orange Skull will result in many a creator being unable to pay their bills or write of expenses, forcing the need for either a shift to better paying work in the arts or having to embolden their bank accounts with day jobs, in some cases. Without enough paying work to go around and a potential hurt coming in terms of taxes and available healthcare, you’re going to see a lot of creators making tricky decisions in the coming years.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Well, I’m addicted to the CW DC TV shows and just devoured NBC’s THE GOOD PLACE, but the kids and I are really looking forward to the eighth volume of Kazu Kibuishi’s AMULET series
Who or what inspires you? I spent a lot of my year re-reading old Joe Kubert comics and books – RAGMAN, SGT ROCK, JEW GANGSTER – as well as a bulk of Will Eisner’s original graphic novel library. Something about immersing one’s self into a master class of sequential storytelling always helps stir the creative juices.
Ronald Wimberly, cartoonist
2018 Projects: LAAB, Sunset Park
What was the biggest story of 2017? I got a decent check from Prince of Cats and Black History in its Own Words
What will be the biggest story of 2018? LAAB and Sunset Park
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Hopefully traveling back to see my friends in Japan or France.
Who or what inspires you?
Brandon Schatz, retailer
2018 Projects: What was the biggest story of 2017? The gradual and continual collapse of Marvel.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? The slow refocus of the comic book industry outside of the direct market.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Whatever Marvel comes up with next for their line. Partly because it will be a “make or break/mission statement” moment for sure. And admittedly, they have my favourite characters, despite my current apathy for much of their line that didn’t just get cancelled.
Who or what inspires you? Shelley Bond. Her curation of a line true to her roots, but with an eye to the future made for an interesting mission statement. Marry old creators with fresh voices so they can “learn from each other”, instead of using the old ways as the de facto guide.
2018 Projects: AfterShock Comics: Overseeing the Brand, Marketing, Promotional, Digital + Various Creative Aspects of titles such as ANIMOSITY, ALTERS, PESTILENCE, BABYTEETH, JIMMYâ€™S BASTARDS, DARK ARK, ROUGH RIDERS and more.
What was the biggest story of 2017? There were so many big stories in the industry in 2017, but I believe the most shocking aspect was how divisive the opinions to the major topics were.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Making the single issue comic a more anticipated experience than anything on TV or Film.
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: The Avengers: Infinity War film. They did a great job juggling all the characters in Captain America: Civil War. This looks like it’s doubled the cast.
Who or what inspires you? In no particular order, I enjoyed the art of Terry Dodson, James Jean, Babs Tarr, and Ben Caldwell.
Jason Leivian, retailer/editor
2018 Projects: Publishing Coredoor with Brandon Graham and Emma Rios. A follow-up/evolution to their popular Island magazine.
What was the biggest story of 2017? #visiblewomen was a powerful, inspiring project and the internet was a nicer place for a few days.
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Comic Aht? magazine from Domino Books
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Fiffe’s Bloodstrike
Who or what inspires you? I had a recharging Fall con season, between SPX, Short Run, and CABF. Meeting kindred spirits and making new friends like Jon-Michael Frank, Charlene Man, and Orion Martin.
Taimur Dar, journalist
What was the biggest story of 2017? CB Cebulski replacing Axel Alonso as Marvel EiC
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Probably whatever the latest Marvel blunder will be
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Whatever Brian Michael Bendis’ DC Comics project will be
Who or what inspires you? Late/Great Dwayne McDuffie
Thomas Ragon, editor, Dargaud
2018 Projects: From the USA, here are some of the projects that are official.
After “Musnet”, There will be another project by Kickliy. A western. Two books.
Tim Hensley’s “Sir Alfred #3” will be released in August or September, with additional material by the author. This will be a 24×32 cm hardcover. Here’s the exclusive new endpaper.
Then, the French edition of Hartley Lin’s “Young Frances”. I’m proud to be working soon on this one, “Pope Hats” quite impressed me by the maturity at work.
From the French scene, Thomas Gilbert’s take on the Witches of Salem case should not come out without being noticed.
After “Audubon” (published in English by Nobrow), Fabien Grolleau and Jeremie Royer will be back with “H.M.S. Beagle, les origines de Darwin”.
Art : Jérémie Royer, Writer : Fabien Grolleau.
“Renaissance”, is a very strong science fiction series by Fred Duval, Fred Blanchard and Emem. Art : Emem & Fred Blanchard ; Writer : Fred Duval.
Lucas Varela and Diego Agrimbau join us for “Le Roi de la forat”, another science fiction book, with a completely different approach.
What was the biggest story of 2017? In France, I would say the tremendous success of humor comics. More precisely, non-fiction treated with humor, “L’Arabe du Futur”, “Dans la combi de Thomas Pesquet”, or plain humor comics like “Les Vieux Fourneaux” (more than one million copies sold with four books in four years).
Guilty Pleasure of 2018: Attending Napoli Comicon, in May.
Who or what inspires you? Blutch literally saved my professional life, in 2017, with his “Variations”. He’s so dedicated to his work and art, always trying to move forward, to try new things, to be working, whatever the difficulties are. He’s so talented, of course. And friendly. A real inspiration. Thank you, Blutch.
Reilly Brown, cartoonist
2018 Projects: Outrage at Line Webtoon and Dash Hudson at GhostekProducts.com/Dash
What was the biggest story of 2017? CB Cebulski taking over at Marvel
What will be the biggest story of 2018? Non-Marvel/DC publishers (such as Webtoon) signing deals with Marvel and DC creators, and rivaling their readership.
Who or what inspires you? Sanford Greene
Dave Elliott, editor
2018 Projects: MEND and CLICK. First two graphic novels that I am editing for Zuiker Press. Zuiker Press is a new publishing company founded by Anthony Zuiker (creator of CSI) and his wife Michelle. I’m the editor. Graphic novels based on true stories of kids that have gone through something traumatic. First books are Divorce (Mend) and Cyberbullying (Click). Currently in production are books on racial prejudice, body dysmorphia, and autism.
What was the biggest story in comics in 2017? Mark Millar/Netflix.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2018? Maybe someone starts producing mass market comics again?
Guilty Pleasure: Black Panther movie!!!!
Who or what Inspires you: Rick Remender, only because Seven to Eternity is the only comic I look forward to these days.
Erica Schultz, writer
2018 Projects: Twelve Devils Dancing (Writer) with Dave Acosta and Andrew Covalt, Bingo Love (Editor) with Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, and Joy San, I have a back up story with Natasha Alterici (Heathen) in Destiny NY Vol. 2 from Space Between Entertainment, I’m also working on the Corpus anthology, as well as Where We Live, the anthology benefitting the victims of the Las Vegas shooting drawn by Liana Kangas (Blackout).
What was the biggest story in comics in 2017? I’d say Bingo Love getting picked up by Image Comics is a big story, seeing as it’s the first time Image would be publishing a graphic novel by an African American woman.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2018? The launch of books from Black Crown and Berger Books, two new imprints will be exciting. Emma Beeby and Ariela Kristantina have a great book about Mata Hari coming out. Also, several comics properties have been optioned lately, so it’d be interesting to see how far that goes in 2018, especially with platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. looking for content.
Guilty Plesaure: Hmm…Maybe a new season of Sarah and Duck?
Who or what inspires you? There are so many incredibly talented creators out there, I don’t know if I could narrow it down to a few. I adore Tee Franklin (Bingo Love), Meredith Finch (Rose), Emma Beeby (Mata Hari), Eric Palicki (No Angel), Vita Ayala (The Wilds), Natasha Alterici (Heathen), Emily Pearson (The Wilds), Liana Kangas (Blackout), Erik Burnham (Ghostbusters), and so many others. I’m very inspired by my peers who challenge me and push me to do better.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.